The Most Dreaded Words: “What’s for Dinner?!”


DEAR MARY: I have been reading your column and implementing your ideas for years, with varying degrees of success (my fault, not yours). The one thing I bless you for every day is eMeals.

I just subscribed to eMeals at the start of the school year. I am a teacher and have two kids in high school. After 22 years of marriage, grocery shopping had become a dreaded chore. I like cooking, but I hated the planning. My son is a picky eater, which made it even harder.


My mom always used to write up a menu and make her grocery list from that, so I have always tried to do the same. I even used my local grocery store’s weekly ad to plan my list. It was still something I dreaded.

Using eMeals has completely liberated me. It sounds very dramatic, but I really feel like my chains are gone and I’ve been set free. I just go to the grocery store and buy what is on the list. I prepare the (easy) recipes. If my son doesn’t like it, I say “Too bad! It isn’t my fault – blame eMeals.”

I never realized how much of my energy was spent DREADING meal planning and grocery shopping. It was a negative mental and emotional vibe that was clouding my weekends. I used to go to the grocery store nearly every day to pick up something or other, which increased our spending dramatically.

Now I go to the store ONCE a week. I always have what I need on hand. We have tried lots of new foods. My son is actually eating more and more of what I prepare. I have recommended eMeals to a lot of people I know because it’s like a ticket out of jail. If we don’t need 7 meals in a particular week, I just cross one or two off the shopping list. My husband and daughter want to compile a “best of” list, because some of these recipes have been fantastic!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love, love, love this service. It is 100 percent worth it! –Coleen C., email

DEAR COLLEEN: Thanks for the great feedback.Sometimes readers mistake my personal excitement for a product or service as an audition to become a late-night infomercial pitchman. I only recommend and endorse products and services that I truly believe in and use myself. I am so happy that you have found eMeals* to be all that I believe it is, and perhaps even more. I don’t have the feedback from picky teens! My husband and I have never gotten to the point of wanting to rate and review eMeals recipes, but now that I think about it, that’s not such a bad idea! In fact, I love it. I am so proud of you for the progress you’ve made with simplifying meal time in your home and freeing yourself for the the tyranny of “What’s for dinner?!”

*EC Readers get 20% eMeals subscriptions with coupon code debtproofliving 

DEAR MARY:  Your new book “The Smart Woman’s Guide to Saving for Retirement,” sounds so interesting. My question is for someone my age (70) who didn’t plan well and lives on Social Security alone, is there something in it that would be of a help to me? Thanks. –Georgette, email

DEAR GEORGETTE: I cannot promise a magic wand in my new book. However, I do believe that it will give you help and understanding for how you can maximize your resources and perhaps even boost your income. I have to say that 70 is looking a lot younger to me every day. I just read somewhere that 80 is the new 60, which I think would suggest that 70 is the new 50! See how young you are? I want to encourage you in every way I can to not only improve your own situation, but to influence your daughters and granddaughters to begin their own planning now, no matter how young or old they are. I wrote this book for you and and them as well. I pray that all of you will read it and take it to heart. Watch your mailbox because I’m sending you a copy, with my compliments.


Updated 8/21/2018
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5 replies
  1. DianaB says:

    I have ordered your new book, one for my daughter, one for my granddaughter (both in their 30s) and hope they are able to learn and practice something from it. I also got one for myself (I am 71) just to check it out. I do medical transcription from home and earn a good deal and, of course, also get my SS which I had to take early because of a family situation so is not the ideal amount. When my ex-husband’s full benefits become available upon his demise, things may change. When my medical transcription runs dry due to electronic medical record requirements, I am going to be up a stump to make ends meet. I am still working on getting my house paid for. If I can do that rather “quickly” I might survive. On to reading your book.

  2. leslie says:

    i can think of many other words that are more dreaded than what’s for dinner. like ‘you’ve got _______’ for example. or your child has been in an accident. or your house is on fire. etc. so i certainly wouldn’t put whats for dinner in a dreaded category.

    • DianaB says:

      Okay, Leslie, I think that is somewhat of an overreaction. Wait about 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 years and see if the “what’s for dinner” question is still at the top of your favorites list. For many of us, we are tired of trying to figure it out every day and it is a dreaded question, that along with dreading to go shopping, pay for it, lug it to the truck, lug it back out of the truck and into the house, put it all away and…well, you know the drill. There are many levels of dread in life and this is one of them.


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